Case Study

De Agostini: Repurposing the business & the family

20 pages
June 2019
Reference: IMD-7-2072

MILAN (ITALY), SEPTEMBER 2018. The Strategic Lab at De Agostini, part strategic think-tank and part assessment tool for the next-generation talent of the Drago-Boroli family, owners of De Agostini, was brainstorming the future direction of the diversified, family-owned group. After almost 100 years in the publishing and printing business, the third-generation family leader Marco Drago set the family firm on a radical new course, which included globalization and diversification across media and communication, gaming, and financial services to create a powerhouse, with entities listed on three different stock exchanges. However, diversification did not come without its challenges. Could portfolio repurposing also serve to anchor the family’s identity? Were family values properly embedded in the current structures and investments? Should the holding structure be perennialized or be treated as a temporary arrangement until the next major liquidity event, when assets would again be refocused on a single industry? Did the legacy publishing business still serve a purpose or should it be disposed of? Emotional ties ran deep, but so did the losses… and those were not sustainable. Could it be turned around or pivoted to capture the latest digitalization wave?

Learning Objective
  • strategic pivoting of the family business
  • repurposing of the business
  • managing the legacy
  • training the next generation
  • managing succession
Succession Management, Next Generation, Portfolio Management, Pivoting, Culture, Legacy
Global, Italy
De Agostini, Media, Business Management Services, Communication, Finance and Insurance, Financial Services
Field Research
© 2019
Available Languages
Related material
Teaching note, Video
Case clearing houses
IMD case studies are distributed through case clearing houses. In order to browse the collection and purchase copies please visit the links below.

The Case Centre

Cranfield University

Wharley End Beds MK43 0JR, UK
Tel +44 (0)1234 750903
Email [email protected]

Harvard Business School Publishing

60 Harvard Way, Boston MA 02163, USA
Tel (800) 545-7685 Tel (617)-783-7600
Fax (617) 783-7666
Email [email protected]

Asia Pacific Case Center

NUCB Business School

1-3-1 Nishiki Naka
Nagoya Aichi, Japan 460-0003
Tel +81 52 20 38 111
Email [email protected]


Research Information & Knowledge Hub for additional information on IMD publications

Discover our latest research
IMD's faculty and research teams publish articles, case studies, books and reports on a wide range of topics